In Pakistan, the cycle of helping underprivileged community of society never stops throughout the year, but especially in the holy month of Ramazan, people become more plentiful and generous towards deprived segments of the society. At this very time of the year, every individual, either rich or poor, do some giving conferring to their capacity.

A recently published report of The ‘Stanford Social Innovation Review’ on generosity in Pakistan endorsed this rational. According to the report, Pakistanis spend almost 1 percent of their GDP on charity. This percentage is comparable to the developed countries like Canada and England, where people respectively spend 1.2% and 1.3% of their GDP on charity works.

Despite all the odds, this bright side of our society is a matter of pride for all of us. Powering this culture of generosity is the Islamic emphasis on giving—in the form of Zakat, Sadqa, and Fitrana for wellbeing of underprivileged segment of society.

Through this very unique yet common attribute of our society, the world has witnessed success of some of the biggest philanthropic projects such as Edhi Foundation, Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust, Akhuwat Foundation, Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation, Citizen Foundation, to name a few.

Out of all above mentioned or even unmentioned charity institutes, Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust has its own exceptionality. The very idea of the existence of Shaukat Khanum Hospital is so strong, equivalent to a miracle. Nineteen of the twenty top doctors, in the first meeting of the Board of the Trust said the Hospital cannot be built and one who said it is possible warned it can never function with the mission of treating the poor free of cost. Today, the Hospital provides financially supported treatment to about 75% of its patients and has spent over 39 billion rupees on treatment of poor cancer patients. Not just this but it has also successfully expanded itself. It is, indeed, a phenomenon that defies all logic and reasoning. It has a unique identity among masses as it is the only charity hospital, across the globe which is providing free of cost cancer treatment to over 75% of needy and deserving patients. This indeed is a great achievement of its supporters. 

If you get a chance to visit the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospitals in Lahore or Peshawar, you will notice that almost all the rooms are dedicated in the memory of loved ones. Each room that is dedicated has a plaque displayed outside. So you know that someone will get a chance to live, in this room, thanks to the love or remembrance of this individual. Thus, it is no longer just a building; each room is a tribute to the memory of a loved one. The bricks have been cemented with the trust, support, and small pieces of hearts of so many people. It is not easy to break this very unique and strong bond as it is also linked with the concept of Sadqa-e-Jariya.

On the other hand, Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust has emerged as one of the most credible charities in Pakistan not only through its performance but also through its inclination towards accountability. Each year, the financial audit of the Trust takes place by a reliable auditing firm and the results are publicly available on the Hospital’s website. Every donor, weather his/her contribution is big or small, receives a donation acknowledgment receipt. Hence, the organization displays a willingness and openness towards accountability that has helped to strengthen it as a credible institution.  Therefore, the trust of the donors no longer primarily rests on any individual but it now rests on the credibility of the institution that it has built gradually over time.

Furthermore, the work of the organization speaks for itself through the high quality of services that it offers. Its services range from state-of-the-art cancer diagnostic and therapeutic facilities for the patients to its network of laboratory collection centers all over Pakistan that collect blood samples to be processed in its Pathology Lab that is ISO certified, certified by the College of American Pathologists and certified by the Physicians and Surgeons of Pakistan. The Trust has also been awarded by the World Health Organization for its services in the healthcare sector. Most importantly, last year, Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, Lahore has been awarded Joint Commission International’s Gold Seal of Approval for Hospital Accreditation by demonstrating continuous compliance with its internationally-recognized standards. The Gold Seal of Approval is a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to providing safe and effective patient care.

Relying on generosity of Pakistani people, recently, the Trust has embarked on expansion projects; from the new Clinical Tower in Lahore to Pakistan’s third and largest Shaukat Khanum Hospital being built in Karachi. This is just one example, a blend of people’s generosity and conviction, and organization’s commitment in fulfilling the expectation of its donors. Our country has unique record of countless such examples of generosity. May this brighter side of our society overwhelm all the darks, and turn this country into a real Muslim welfare state.